News - March 24, 2017 - by Ray Hagar

By Ray Hagar
Nevada Newsmakers

State Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks, predicted this week that the inaction of Attorney General Adam Laxalt to enforce 2016 ballot Question One on the expansion of gun background checks would probably be decided by the Nevada Supreme Court.

When asked if there was anything the Legislature could do to enforce the law, Ratti said:

"I think you are going to end up seeing the other branch, the judicial branch, probably being the place we'll have to go for some relief," she after taping a Nevada Newsmakers segement. "We are looking very closely at what we can do in terms of law making. But they (Supreme Court justices) are probably going to have to help us out with the interpreting of the existing laws."

She predicts lawsuits will be filed on the stalled ballot question and perhaps other laws that Laxalt may not choose to support as the state's top law-enforcement official.

"I think there are many people who care about this issue (gun background checks) and if we can't follow through on the will of the voters on this, marijuana, you pick, then you will see lawsuits coming forward at some point," she said.

Here's the rub on the stalled gun ballot question:

Question One, which passed with a 1-percent margin of victory, mandated that most private gun transfers be subject to a federal background check.

The background checks were to go through a system run by the FBI. But the FBI told Nevada officials it would not conduct the background checks, noting that Nevada laws can't dictate how the FBI uses its resources.

So Laxalt's office said the background checks can't start.

Democrats see Laxalt as cherry picking what laws to enforce and as being hypocritical when he talks of federal overreach. For example, he was all in on the lawsuit against Obama administration' executive orders on immigration issues but has nary said a peep on President Trump's executive orders on immigration.

"We have been very vocal about our dissatisfaction (with Laxalt) and it is not just about Question One," Ratti said. "It is about Mr. Laxalt's inconsistent choice about when he is going to defend what the voters of the state want and when he is not going to defend what the voters of the state want.

"Mr. Laxalt seems to only file lawsuits when it aligns with his political philosophy," Ratti said. "And you cannot have the highest law enforcement officer in the land, of Nevada, making political decisions like that. This (gun background check law) is what the voters want. This is what he should be defending."

SHARRON ANGLE, WHO NEEDS no introduction in Nevada politics, said last week she was going to run for Nevada's 2nd U.S. House District seat in 2018.

It's a seat held by Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City. I'm guessing he won't mind. He's already talking about leaving Washington and moving back to Nevada, where he could possibly run for attorney general in 2018 and go back to living in his hometown.

Angle has run for federal office three times before. In her first try, she almost scuttled the budding congressional career of  current Sen. Dean Heller, losing the 2006 GOP 2nd U.S. House primary to Heller by 421 votes.

She, of course, became nationally known when she won the GOP nomination of U.S. Senate in 2010 and took on Majority Leader Harry Reid. She lost in one of the most memorable U.S. Senate races of the 21st century.

Now, seven years later, she is probably a better politician than she was in 2010. But Angle's time has come and gone. Her window of opportunity has closed.

Some Republicans have never forgiven her for losing to Reid. She ran an odd campaign, running away from reporters while they videotaped her running away. Besides, it was her own Republican Party members who really did her in, by forming the Republicans for Reid club.

The most telling fact of Angle's fading appeal was the scope of her loss to Joe Heck in the 2016 GOP U.S. Senate primary.

She lost to Heck in the 2016 primary -- in which only Republicans could vote -- by 50,000 votes, according to Secretary of State records. She lost to Reid by 40,000 votes in a general-election contest.

Angle can't be totally written off because of her reputation as a tireless campaigner. But she would need a fragmented and crowded primary field, as she had when she captured the GOP nomination to run against Reid.

If she got through the primary and earned the GOP nomination, one must remember that no Democrat has won Nevada's 2nd U.S. House seat since it was created after the 1980 national census.

AMODEI, for now has gained the high ground on the national health care issue, if he is indeed planning a run for statewide office in 2018. He is one of the Republicans who opposed the Republican health-care bill that never came to a vote Thursday or Friday in Washington D.C.

He did not fold to the reported pressure the Trump White House put upon U.S. House members, even though Amodei served as Trump's presidential campaign leader for Nevada in 2016.

Amodei was interviewed on MSNBC on Thursday and he exploited the opportunity to appeal to all Nevada voters in a state that appears to be turning blue, based on Nevada's 2016 election results.

"It gets easy when you focus on Nevada because quite frankly, what is in the (GOP health care) legislation that is being proposed right now, will do nothing to enable me to go back to Nevada and tell people that their rates are going to go down anytime in the near future or that their choices are going to go up and their deductibles go down."